Trump Admin and Big Oil Took Advantage of a Broken System to Rip-Off Taxpayers 

HELENA, MT- As the Biden administration continues to work to protect America’s national security by addressing climate change and to ensure taxpayers are no longer getting ripped off by fossil fuel corporations, Accountable.US released a new report today on the oil and gas sector’s rhetoric around the president’s plans — versus the actual reality. Big Oil had been prioritized over Americans, small businesses, the environment, and our public lands throughout the Trump administration, receiving billions in bailouts, subsidies, and tax breaks while over a hundred common sense public land and environmental protections were gutted.  

“Taxpayers can no longer afford to foot the bill for polluting corporations exploiting our public lands, degrading our environment, and accelerating climate change. Big Oil corporations are finally going to have to decouple from exorbitant taxpayer-funded subsidies flowing into their coffers and figure out how to pick themselves up by the bootstraps.  

Swiftly and comprehensively addressing climate change is of the utmost importance to America’s national security, and will create hundreds of thousands of good paying jobs along the way. The hypocritical rhetoric and recycled talking points from a bygone era that oily politicians, special interests, and lobbyists keep uttering aren’t going to create jobs and get people back to work,” said Accountable.US spokesperson Jayson O’Neill 

After pausing Trump’s Interior Department decisions to review their efficacy and rightfully denying the Keystone XL pipeline permit last week, numerous oil-backed elected officials’ and oil lobbyists’ rhetoric made it appear as if the industry could not stand on its own. But many of those same politicians hardly batted an eye when President Trump made a deal with the Saudis to accept a flotilla of oil tankers after prices went negative last spring or acknowledge that the fossil fuel sector has been shedding jobs for decades.  

Last week, Accountable.US released another report on oil and gas’s rhetoric versus reality in response to the Biden administration’s plan and Congress’s obligation to clean up the Trump administration’s toxic legacy and address climate change.  

Oil And Gas Is One Of The Most Bailed-Out Industries In The US—It Has Been Propped Up With Taxpayer Dollars For Years, And That Only Increased During The Trump Administration 

RHETORIC: The Oil Industry Says They “Don’t Know What President-Elect Biden Is Talking About” Regarding Oil Bailouts 

The American Petroleum Institute Says It Doesn’t Know What Joe Biden Is Talking About When He Brings Up The Industry’s Favorable Treatment From The Government. “The American Petroleum Institute, the industry’s lobbying arm in Washington, thinks it can work with the incoming administration in areas such as bolstering support for technology that captures carbon emissions. But API argues that it already pays higher tax rates than most American businesses. ‘We as an industry don’t exactly know what President-elect Biden is talking about,’ Mike Sommers, the group’s president, said in an interview last month. ‘We don’t receive any tax treatment. We take advantage of deductions that other businesses in the world take advantage of.’ He said API had already circulated a fact sheet on Capitol Hill.” [Washington Post, 12/22/20

REALITY: The Federal Government Has Spent Four Years Bailing Out The Failing Oil And Gas Industry, Prioritizing Profits Over Public Lands 

While Bernhardt Was Deputy Secretary, The Interior Department Completed or Moved Forward With 25 Policy Actions Requested or Supported By At Least 16 Of His Former Clients. “An analysis by the Center for Western Priorities finds that during Bernhardt’s tenure as Deputy Interior Secretary, the agency has completed or moved forward with at least 25 policy actions that have been requested or supported by at least 16 of his former clients.” [Westwise, 12/17/18]   

Trump Issued An Executive Order Requiring Agencies To Expedite “Infrastructure, Energy, Environmental, Or Natural Resources-Related Projects.” “Section 9(b) of E.O. 13927 additionally requires agencies to utilize their statutory and regulatory authorities that provide for emergency or expedited treatment of infrastructure, energy, environmental, or natural resource-related projects and project reviews “to the fullest extent permitted to facilitate the Nation’s economic recovery.” [USDA Report On EO 13927, 07/07/20]  

REALITY: During The Global Pandemic, The Trump Administration Has Given Billions In Bailouts To Extractive Industries 

$4.5 Billion In Funding Through The CARES Act’s Paycheck Protection Program: “In total, 22,382 oil, gas, mining and related extractive resource corporations received a staggering $4,530,469,847 in taxpayer-funded monies through the PPP. In contrast, the wind and solar sector received a total of $164,987,228, going to some 1,133 businesses. The average loan amount was nearly 40% higher for extractive resource corporations as well.” [Accountable.US, 12/11/20

$828 Million In Funding Through The CARES Act’s Main Street Lending Program: “Forty-six fossil fuel companies have received Fed-subsidized loans totaling $828 million since the program started in July. The average loan size, $18 million, is nearly double the program’s average loan size of $9.8 million, or $9.2 million excluding fossil fuels. Twelve of the fossil fuel loans were worth $35 million or more, accounting for more than 30% of the program’s loans of that magnitude.” [Bailout Watch, 12/16/20 

$25 Billion In CARES Act Tax Benefits: Seventeen oil and gas companies, including ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Phillips 66, and Valero, received $25 billion, in direct one-time benefits from the 2017 tax bill. [Pacific Standard, 03/27/18]   

And $18.2 Billion In Additional Tax Savings: Nine major oil companies, including Chevron, Cliffs Natural Resources, Devon Energy, EOG Resources, Halliburton, and more, paid no federal income taxes on nearly $18.2 billion of U.S. income in 2018. [Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, 04/11/19

Pausing New Oil And Gas Leases Won’t Hurt Big Oil—They’ve Been Planning For This  

RHETORIC: Big Oil Says A Pause On Leasing Could “Eliminate” The Industry 

The American Petroleum Institute Says Joe Biden’s Policies Will “Undermine Or Eliminate An Industry.” “The oil lobby group is also skeptical of proposals by Biden and Democrats to help affected fossil fuel workers transition to jobs in cleaner energy or to compensate state and counties for the hit on revenues from a leasing ban. ‘The idea that you are going to seek to undermine or eliminate an industry and then provide them with government jobs in a New Deal-type of fashion is pretty insulting to U.S. oil and gas workers.’” [Washington Examiner, 01/13/21

The “Main Exception” To The American Petroleum Institute’s “Openness” To Biden’s Agenda Was On Targeting Fossil Fuel Production On Public Lands And Offshore Waters, A Position API Planned To Make Clear To The Administration. “The main exception to the API’s openness to Biden’s agenda is his promise to target fossil fuel production on public lands and offshore waters, an area responsible for nearly a quarter of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from energy production. The API argues the policy, which Biden’s nominee for Interior secretary, Rep. Deb Haaland, could pursue without Congress, would lead to increased energy imports and higher prices for oil and also harm the budgets of states such as New Mexico that rely on royalty payments from federal drilling. ‘The consequences would be absolutely devastating to American communities and the American public,’ [API CEO Mike] Sommers said. ‘We will be making that position clear to the Biden administration.’” [Washington Examiner, 01/13/21

The Independent Petroleum Association Of New Mexico Said It Had “Serious Concerns” About Picking Rep. Debra Haaland For Interior Secretary Because She Had “Demonstrated Contempt” Towards The Industry. “The Independent Petroleum Association of New Mexico said Thursday it had ‘serious concerns about the selection of Congresswoman Haaland for the job of interior secretary. Ms. Haaland has repeatedly demonstrated contempt towards our industry, especially regarding the need for a balanced approach to public land management,” the group said. ‘We urge congressional leaders to closely examine her anti-oil & gas record as they consider this selection.’” [Bloomberg, 12/18/20

REALITY: Joe Biden Will Not Get Rid Of The Fossil Fuel Industry. Some Oil Companies Even Say Biden Supports The Industry  

Joe Biden Will Not Get Rid Of The Fossil Fuel Industry. “’Eventually we’re going to have to go to oil, but we’re not getting rid of fossil fuels. We’re getting rid of the subsidies for fossil fuels, but we’re not getting rid of fossil fuels for a long time,’ Biden told reporters on the ground in Tennessee after the debate. He then added that the transition away from fossil fuels would probably not happen until 2050.” [The Hill, 10/23/20 

Vicki Hollub, Occidental Petroleum CEO, Said The Transition From An Administration That’s Been “Very, Very Supportive Of The Industry” To Biden “Will Surprise Some People.” “Vicki Hollub, CEO of Occidental Petroleum, said she’d tried to avoid the news over the last week or so. ‘It’s been something I really don’t want to hear much about. I can tell you that the transition from the current administration that’s been very, very supportive of the industry to Mr. Biden who will become president in January, I think is going to be one that will surprise some people,’ she said during the same CNBC-moderated panel.” [CNBC, 11/12/20

REALITY: A Pause On Leasing Won’t Hurt The Oil Industry Because It Has Stocked Up On Permits 

 Some Oil Companies Anticipate That Doing Business On BLM Lands Will Become More Difficult. “’We’re realistic that with a Biden win, doing business on BLM land will become more difficult,’ Marathon Oil’s president and CEO Lee Tillman said on the earnings call last week.” [Oil Price, 11/14/20

So They Have Stocked Up A “’War Chest’” Of Permits To Drill On Public Lands. “Meanwhile, if Biden becomes president that may lead to the ‘possible cessation of new drilling permits on federal land,’ said [CFRA Energy Equity Analyst Stewart] Glickman. Many firms, however, have already built up a ‘war chest of such permits,” so any such new law ‘probably only has real teeth to it by maybe 2024.’” [MarketWatch, 11/04/20

REALITY: Most Oil And Gas Drilling Doesn’t Even Happen On Federal Public Lands  

Less Than 24 Percent Of US Crude Oil Production Happens On Federal Land. “A key question addressed in this discussion is how much oil and gas is produced in the United States each year and how much of that comes from federal versus nonfederal areas. Oil production has risen in federal areas (onshore and offshore) over the past 10 years but has increased at a faster rate on nonfederal lands. Nonfederal crude oil production rapidly increased in the past few years, primarily due to improved extraction technology, favorable geology, and the ease of leasing, more than doubling daily production between FY2008 and FY2017. The federal share of total U.S. crude oil production fell from its peak at nearly 36% in 2009 to less than 24% in 2017 at the same time overall production increased.” [Congressional Research Service, 10/23/18

Joe Biden Plans To Treat Climate Change As An “Existential Threat.” Big Oil Corporations Says They Oppose Biden’s Plans, But They’ve Been Planning For Climate Change, Too  

RHETORIC: Big Oil Says Joe Biden’s Climate Policies Are “Insulting”  

The American Petroleum Institute Says Joe Biden’s Policies Will “Undermine Or Eliminate An Industry.” “The oil lobby group is also skeptical of proposals by Biden and Democrats to help affected fossil fuel workers transition to jobs in cleaner energy or to compensate state and counties for the hit on revenues from a leasing ban. ‘The idea that you are going to seek to undermine or eliminate an industry and then provide them with government jobs in a New Deal-type of fashion is pretty insulting to U.S. oil and gas workers.’” [Washington Examiner, 01/13/21

REALITY: Joe Biden Plans To Address The Existential Threat Of Climate Change 

Biden Called Climate Change “The Number One Issue Facing Humanity,” And That “We Have A Moral Obligation” To Address it. “It’s the number one issue facing humanity. And it’s the number one issue for me. …Look, climate change is the existential threat to humanity, the existential threat to humanity. Unchecked, it is going to actually bake this planet. This is not hyperbole. It’s real. And we have a moral obligation. There’s not many things. Dan and I worked together a long time. Don’t hear me often invoke a moral obligation. We have a moral obligation, not just the young people. We have a moral obligation to everyone.” [Pod Save America podcast, 10/24/20

Biden’s “Build Back Better Plan” Focuses On Delivering “An Equitable Clean Energy Future.” “Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan ensures that – coming out of this profound public health and economic crisis, and facing the persistent climate crisis – we are never caught flat-footed again. He will launch a national effort aimed at creating the jobs we need to build a modern, sustainable infrastructure now and deliver an equitable clean energy future.” [Biden-Harris: THE BIDEN PLAN TO BUILD A MODERN, SUSTAINABLE INFRASTRUCTURE AND AN EQUITABLE CLEAN ENERGY FUTURE, accessed 01/15/21

Biden’s Clean Energy Revolution Plan Will Invest In Clean Energy And Environmental Justice “Joe Biden knows there is no greater challenge facing our country and our world. That’s why he is outlining a bold plan – a Clean Energy Revolution – to address this grave threat and lead the world in addressing the climate emergency…The Biden plan will make a historic investment in our clean energy future and environmental justice, paid for by rolling back the Trump tax incentives that enrich corporations at the expense of American jobs and the environment.” [Biden-Harris: THE BIDEN PLAN FOR A CLEAN ENERGY REVOLUTION AND ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE, accessed 01/15/21

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